Critics Pick! "A big, beautiful, rambling immersion in a passion whose heat is fueled primarily by its impossibility" -New York Times
"Deeply refreshing and important" -Village Voice
"Anatomizing the disconnect between progressive idealist orthodoxy and the realities of day-to-day life, the film tackles the shallowness of broadly defined 'gay culture' (parties, fashion, catty wit, sloganeering)and the shallowness of desire" -Film Comment
"[A] refreshing and extraordinary achievement... [Xavier Dolan] once again reaches down to hidden depths of a seemingly impossible relationship, exploring the basis of its enduring stamina, he delivers something fascinating" -Film Journal Intl
"A nearly three-hour epic, a melodrama writ large, and blessed with a young man's ambition" -Onion AV Club
"Exhilarating... The two central performances are phenomenal" -Slant Magazine
Recommended! "More than ever, Dolan's aesthetics accentuate the emotional honesty (and brutality) that he's always been gifted at expressing through dialogue" -NPR
Recommended! "Reckless, ravishing... The cinematography by Yves Bélanger is a sustained swoon" -NewCity Chicago
"A riot of ruffled clothes, strutting defiance and bruised endurance" -TimeOut Chicago
Recommended! "Lushly romantic and daringly original" -Chicago Reader
The most ambitious work yet from Montreal wunderkind Xavier Dolan, who at 23 has now had three films play to overwhelming acclaim at many film festivals, Laurence Anyways chronicles the tempestuous relationship of Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) and Frédérique (Suzanne Clément). They are a bohemian couple whose commitment is put to the test when Laurence comes out as transgenderedan announcement that puts the two on vastly different paths to understanding. What follows is a tumultuous, decade-long odyssey during which the couple fights passionately to salvage their relationship.
At first, Frederique believes they can continue being a couple as they always have, but as the reality of the situation emerges, their bond is tested in ways they never believed possible. A teacher, Laurence also encounters problems at work, his family is not ready to accept his transition, and Frederique questions whether he really is the same person she has always loved. Throughout, Poupaud and Clément's electric performances bring an energy to the film that is irresistible to watch.
Like Dolan's Heartbeats and I Killed My Mother, Laurence Anyways is filmed with a youthful passion and energy that recalls the height of the French New Wave. Certainly his most ambitious film to date, it is a monumental tale about relationships and identitya story of impossible love that once experienced, can never be fully relinquished.
Directed by Xavier Dolan, 2012, Canada/France, 161 mins. In French with English subtitles.